BIA Lowers Local TV Ad Revenue Projection to $18.5B

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CHANTILLY, Va.—The advertising revenue forecast for local TV stations does not look as sunny as it did at the start of 2020 from BIA’s point of view, but even while there has been a negative impact because of the coronavirus pandemic, the prospect of an election still puts 2020 slightly ahead of 2019.

After initially projecting U.S. local TV ad revenue to reach $19.4 billion earlier in the year, BIA now estimates that will come down to $18.5 billion ($17 million over-the-air revenue, $1.5 million digital revenue). This is according to BIA’s Investing in Television Q1 Market Report and MEDIA Access Pro.

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“Local television stations, like all media, will see significant decreases in advertising from many business verticals like travel, leisure and retail,” said Mark Fratrik, senior vice president and chief economist at BIA Advisory Services. “Political advertising will buffer those decreases in many markets that have competitive Senatorial and Gubernatorial races and in Presidential battleground states. Plus, continued growth in OTT and digital will help to soften the impact of the pandemic on advertising revenue.”

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BIA estimates that $7.1 billion will be spent on local political ads through Q4 2020, with over-the-air netting 45.8% of political ad spend. The growth of political advertising spend in OTT will also benefit local TV owners, according to BIA.

In addition, $10.44 billion of the BIA forecast represents retransmission consent agreements between local TV stations and cable/satellite companies/virtual MVPDs for 2020. BIA expects retransmission fees to continue to rise, based primarily on rate increases in each market.

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“It is going to be a dynamic marketplace this year, and we will continually monitor the nationwide and local economies to update our forecast based on new information,” said Fratrik.

BIA has also announced that Local TV Market Profiles and Stations Overviews are now available through the BIA ADVantage platform (opens in new tab).

For more information, visit (opens in new tab).